WNYT.com

Loss, injustice, and a Purple Heart petition

Posted at: 05/09/2013 4:06 PM
Updated at: 05/09/2013 6:25 PM
By: Elaine Houston



TROY - Barb Allen has begun a very important petition drive, hoping it does what she says the military failed to do, and that is honor her husband.

Allen devotes most of her time fighting for the memory of her husband.

Allen can describe the power of a claymore mine, and can 'recite' facts about the device-- by heart.

Not every mom knows these facts,

In 2005, a mine killed her husband, Lt. Lou Allen just three days after the National Guardsman from the 42nd Infantry Division out of Troy arrived in Iraq.

His friend, Captain Phillip Esposito was also killed.

“As I was leaving the cemetery... I was told that a US soldier was arrested for his murder,” she said.

Three years later, fellow soldier, Sgt. Alberto Martinez went on trial in a military

Court for the mine murders of Allen and Esposito, the verdict, not guilty.

“That moment was equal to when my door bell rang and soldiers were telling me my husband was killed. It was that shocking and that devastating.”

It would appear that's how it would end, but, not for Allen, she's written a book dissecting the trial which she calls a travesty, testimony by testimony.

“The evidence was there but was slowly eroded over the course of the pre-trial hearings,” she said.

Never to forget what happened, she titled it, 'Front Toward Enemy', to symbolize how her husband, the soldier was killed by a device intended to kill the enemy.

It's also a challenge to the military to deal with the issue of soldiers who turn on other soldiers.

But, as excruciating as the trial was and the writing of the book, she's now begun an equally challenging task, trying to have her husband, awarded a Purple Heart.

Many e-mails from the military deny her request, so she's turned away from

The military--and towards the president, starting a petition drive she hopes will result in her bringing recognition to an unconventional enemy.

There are some who are listening to Barb's story and support her in her cause, shortly after her book came out, she received 2 purple hearts.

They were sent by 2 Vietnam vets who read her book and wanted to honor him.

One's even been engraved with her husband's name. 

While she deeply appreciates the gesture, she wants one from the military, she wants it for her husband and her 4 boys.

“He was very excited about coming back from Iraq and sharing pictures with his kids over there, he was a part of history. Not only is he not coming back but the government has stolen the only thing he had, which is his legacy,” she said.

Starting Thursday, Mrs. Allen has 15 days to collect 100,000 signatures in order to have the petition placed on the white house governmental account.

If you are interested in signing the petition, click here.

A footnote: as NewsChannel 13 researched this story, we reached out to Martinez's wife,

Who initially said she wanted to be a part of this story, however, in March she passed away.